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[Photo Credit: Samer Daboul]

Swipe. Swipe. Swipe. It’s the repetitive action familiar to all who have experimented with online dating. It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for just a hookup or the real deal when using a dating app like Dil Mil, also known as Desi Tinder.

Desi Tinder brought a lot of insight into my life on what it means to be desi and to date. At this point, I’ve kind of heard it all with:

“I can’t marry you because you’re not a Patel.”

“I’m not looking for anything serious.” (homeboy was engaged a month later)

[Read Related: What South Asian Women Want in a Dating App]

“You’re a solid 8 out of ten. You would be a 10 out of 10 if you just lost some weight.”

Side note:What is up with desi folks and commenting on weight? One dude told me “I looked like I could be his bodyguard.”

“You look like a pipsqueak compared to your pic online,” is what I should have said. But I took the high road, threw down a $20 (my drink was like $11, yep, I felt real cool) and politely told him to have a nice day. Not going to lie, after letting guys before him take a toll on my self-esteem, I actively choose to not spend a minute longer in a situation that no longer served me.

Dating tip: don’t comment and or joke about your date’s weight/body type/look on the first date.

Jokes aside, as a desi person, finding a partner  is tough. There are a ton of filters: religion, language, caste, parental consent, etc.

When you’re looking at your date for the first time, but running all these filters, how on earth can you focus on building an authentic, genuine connection?

Even better, if you’ve already ran those filters before you meet the person, it’s sort of a failed situation from the start. Because building an authentic, genuine connection is the foundation of a successful relationship, right? Not your caste or how much you weigh?

[Read Related: What Happens When You Write About Dating in a Culture Where Relationships are Taboo]

Sure, if the above mentioned filters are dealbreakers for you, I completely understand. The issue I have is when people make these filters their entire foundation and or lead others on. If these filters are important to you and you know your date doesn’t fit, then why lead them on?

I remember having a few really great dates with a Mr. Patel only to be ghosted. I casually confronted him about it and heard the most ridiculous phrase:

“I can’t marry you because you’re not a Patel……but I still want to bang you though.” Again, I was flabbergasted at the lack of dating etiquette as well as the small-mindedness of a millennial desi dude borned and raised in the states. If there were a Groupon for “Dating Etiquette 101” classes or just, “How to talk to Humans,” I would have gladly bought it for him. I checked, there weren’t.  

The issue isn’t limited to the complexities of being desi and finding love or dating etiquette. I believe the issue is much more broad. Today’s fast-paced society has made us not only feel entitled to love, but impatient when in pursuit of it. Is the “swipe left” culture of today making us overly superficial? I mean, why get to know a person if you’re not attracted right off the bat? You can just download another dating app and find someone cuter? Why do the work to get to know a person outside of your caste if you can easily have your parents find three more bio datas off of shaadi.com? within your caste?

[Read Related: Dating Indian Guys Only: Reader Response]

The funny thing is, despite the swiftness of it all and all the tools available today, finding love is still extremely difficult. If you don’t actually care about all the filters society and your family is placing on you, then keep an open mind, you may meet someone amazing. If you know you aren’t serious about the person in front of, then be honest without being rude or demeaning, don’t lead them on.

Personally, I’m a huge believer in having your filters, but not sticking to them too much or clinging to them out of laziness or discomfort. Keep an open mind and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You never know what you may find.  


Priyanka R. Oza is a blogger at Chit-Chat and Chai. Her blog, chitchatandchai.com is a South Asian lifestyle blog for all the NRIs and South-East Asians from all over the world to connect, experience and share their culture no matter the location. Priyanka shares her love for South Asian culture, Yoga and Wellness on her blog. Her favorite thing to do is profile dope South Asians!

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